Knowledge, attitude and practice of medical students towards self medication at Ain Shams University, Egypt


Introduction. Self medication is usually defined as intake of any type of drugs for treating oneself without professional supervision to relieve an illness or a condition. Self medication is an issue with serious global implications. In this study it was aimed to determine the knowledge, attitudes and behavior of self medication by the near coming physicians. Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted on a sample of randomly selected medical students from Ain Shams University. Data was collected using self administered questionnaire. Verbal consent was ensured before applying the questionnaire. The Chi square was performed using SPSS 16 to identify associations and differences. Results. The sample consisted of 300 students 67% females and 33% male students. Prevalence of self medication was 55%. Out of which 58.8%, 54.4%, 87.2%, 12%, 28% took antibiotic, vitamins, analgesics, sedatives, herbal products respectively without physician prescription. As regards the personal behavior towards following any prescription 14.4% always followed properly the prescription compared to 63.3% always discontinued the drug on feeling improvement, and 13.6% always repeated the prescription without seeking medical advice. Also 60% said that they increased the dose without medical advice. As regards the reported side effects 4.8%, 1.6%, 12% as a result of interaction between drugs, increase dose without medical advice and early stopping of treatment respectively. Conclusion. Self medication by medical students is an important issue to be avoided and need to be added to the curriculum of undergraduate students and raise the community awareness about these hazards and drawbacks